More fencing installed around White House complex

Additional fencing and barriers were installed near the White House on Thursday as security around the complex increases amid ongoing protests in Washington, D.C., following the death of George Floyd.

Officials have erected tall fencing along 17th Street and placed concrete barriers along Pennsylvania Avenue near the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. The expanded measures come as law enforcement has pushed protesters farther away from the White House in each of the last two days.

The entire Ellipse on the south end of the White House, E Street between 15th and 17th streets and all of Lafayette Park will remain closed until next Wednesday, a Secret Service spokesperson said in a statement.

“These closures are in an effort to maintain the necessary security measures surrounding the White House complex, while also allowing for peaceful demonstration,” the spokesperson said. 

The escalation in security measures comes even as protests have been largely peaceful in the last two days in the nation’s capital.

Law enforcement dispersed protesters from Lafayette Square near the White House on Monday a short time before President Trump walked to nearby St. John’s Church for a photo op.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, law enforcement set up barriers and a line of officers farther away from the White House to keep demonstrators at a greater distance. Officials used vehicles, military police and fencing in recent days to block pedestrian and vehicle traffic from Pennsylvania Avenue and parts of H Street and 16th Street near the White House.

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) expressed concern on Thursday about cordoning off the White House grounds.

“I’m also concerned that some of the hardening that they’re doing may be not just temporary,” she said at a press conference. “Keep in mind that that’s the people’s house. It’s a sad commentary that the house and its inhabitants have to be walled off. I think that’s a sad commentary.”

Trump has repeatedly called for “law and order” and urged state and local leaders to “dominate” the streets and crack down on protests, which have persisted for more than a week since Floyd, an unarmed black man, died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes during an arrest. 

The president retreated to a secure bunker on Friday as protests escalated near the White House, though he claimed it was for an “inspection” of the area.

Updated at 6:53 p.m.

Tags Donald Trump George Floyd protests White House

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